LINGUIST List 16.2634|
Mon Sep 12 2005
Diss: Lang Description/Syntax: Jouitteau: 'La ...'
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La Syntaxe Comparée du Breton
Message 1: La Syntaxe Comparée du Breton
From: Mélanie Jouitteau <melaniejouitteauyahoo.fr>
Subject: La Syntaxe Comparée du Breton
Institution: University of Nantes
Program: German Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005
Author: Mélanie Jouitteau
Dissertation Title: La Syntaxe Comparée du Breton
Dissertation URL: http://jouitteau.free.fr
Linguistic Field(s): Language Description
Subject Language(s): Breton (bre)
Gaelic, Irish (gle)
This thesis is meant to provide a detailed analysis of an infrequently studied
language, Breton. The goals are:
(i) to bring to the linguistic community answers and new questions that Breton
offers for many theoretical issues crucial for Generative Grammar. I show how
Breton is a crucial case for Extended Projection Principle (EPP) investigations,
or for the characterisation of verbo-nominal properties. I propose a new
typological classification of languages that transcends the V2/Verb-first
(ii) to provide a solid, up-to-date reference for the study of Breton. I
summarize and evaluate previous proposals and propose original, and fully
argumented new ones.
Chapter 1 presents the main characteristics of Breton, with comparison offered
to Celtic and Semitic, as well as Chacaltongo Mixtec. Chapter 2 carefully
unfolds the Breton clausal architecture, from the vP structure to the expanded
left-periphery, summarizing and discussing hitherto principal issues in the
derivation of Breton sentences (Negation as a C head, preverbal A-subject,
In chapter 3, I provide a detailed and comprehensive history of the EPP and show
how the Breton facts provide arguments against several versions of this
principle. My formulation of the EPP extends the inventory of expletives to any
preverbal element, be it a head or an XP. This hypothesis predicts there is no
'strict VSO' language. Verb initial languages are derived by remnant VP movement
or expletive strategy (X(P)-VSO type). This proposal is consistent with the
generalization that so-called VSO languages have preverbal particles. I allow
for null expletives. I show how preverbal expletive C heads in Irish and Arabic
are learnable from the agreement system. The [3.sg] mark appears on the
inflected verb as the result of agreement with the closest goal: the expletive
preverbal C head.
In chapter 4, I concentrate on Breton. Breton doesn't have null expletives and
the V2 effects follow from the EPP. I show how [3sg] frozen agreement is
obtained by the vP structure itself being an intervener for Agree (Jouitteau &
Rezac 2006). Agreement with the subject obtains only when the subject can bypass
the [3.sg] vP intervener (cliticization). I show how this single Parameter of
[3.sg] interpretable phi-features of v derives the salient nominal properties of
verbs: vP structures in Breton show consistent Case Filter effects and can
trigger Construct State. As a result, the language has a Nom/Gen Case system.
Chapter 5 carefully demonstrates how EPP exactly predicts possible word orders
in Breton. Semantically motivated preverbal elements automatically satisfy the
EPP, and last resort expletive strategies appear in wide focus sentences.
Expletives can be created by feature splitting with subsequent movement as a
last resort (Holmberg 2000). The closest postverbal element is raised in the
preverbal position, leaving its semantic feature in situ. This derives elegantly
3 major mysteries of Breton: the A properties available for a non-focused
preverbal subject, the existence of SVO wide focus sentences, and the so-called
'Long Head Movement' paradigms.
Chapter 6 continues the extension of expletives inventory, and presents a
completely new paradigm in dialectal French. In Atlantic French, subject-drop is
allowed if and only if a preverbal C head is inserted. The morphology of this
preverbal C head is realised by any ostensible sound or gesture. I analyse this
paradigm as a multichannel expletive strategy, and elaborate on the implications
it has, from the typology of expletives to linguistic data collecting methodology.
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